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Copper May Fall in New York, Following Stocks on Europe

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April 18 (Bloomberg) -- Copper fell for the first time in three days as Chinese home prices dropped and bad loans surged in Spain, renewing concern that slowing economies will undercut demand.

Home prices fell in a record 37 of 70 cities tracked by the government in March, adding to signs of slowing growth in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer. Non-performing loans as a proportion of total lending jumped to the highest level since 1994, according to Bank of Spain data. Copper also dropped as a stronger dollar eroded demand for commodities as alternative investments.

“Uncertainty is growing as the sovereign-debt crisis in the euro zone rears its ugly head again,” Daniel Briesemann, a Commerzbank AG analyst in Frankfurt, said in a report. The Chinese housing data “suggests a further cooling of the country’s economic growth in the current quarter.”

Copper futures for July delivery declined 0.4 percent to settle at $3.6385 a pound at 1:17 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Still, prices have gained 5.9 percent this year.

The dollar rose as much as 0.5 percent against a basket of six major currencies.

On the London Metal Exchange, copper for delivery in three months was unchanged at $8,050 a metric ton ($3.65 a pound). Zinc was also unchanged, while aluminum, lead, nickel and tin declined in London.

To contact the reporters on this story: Joe Richter in New York at jrichter1@bloomberg.net; Maria Kolesnikova in London at mkolesnikova@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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